|Publication number||US7614048 B1|
|Application number||US 09/966,040|
|Publication date||Nov 3, 2009|
|Filing date||Sep 28, 2001|
|Priority date||Sep 28, 2001|
|Publication number||09966040, 966040, US 7614048 B1, US 7614048B1, US-B1-7614048, US7614048 B1, US7614048B1|
|Inventors||Max L. Musser, Frederick Edwards, Robert J. Bates, Christopher Drew|
|Original Assignee||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (7), Classifications (13), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to telecommunications systems, and more particularly, to systems and methods for automatically distributing software to network elements comprised in a fiber-optic telecommunication system.
The demand for in-home data and telephony services has increased dramatically in recent years and the trend is expected to continue. Accordingly, providers of data and telephony services have sought to design and deploy networks with increased capacity for delivery of these services.
Of particular interest have been fiber-optic networks, which typically provide greater bandwidth than competing technologies. Indeed, there has been much consideration of bringing fiber-optic capacity from the core of the telecommunication network to the end user through a portion of telecommunication network often referred to as the “local loop.” Fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, as the names suggest, provide fiber-optic cables directly, or nearly directly, to the home and thereby provide the increased bandwidth and flexibility of services associated with fiber optic technology.
Of course, there are numerous obstacles associated with deploying fiber optic technologies deep into the distribution network. Notably, there is a tremendous financial cost associated with deploying new fiber-optic networks. Furthermore, there are added complexities associated with managing and operating these new technologies. For example, the FTTC and FTTH fiber-optic systems currently marketed by some vendors such as for example, Marconi Communications Inc., require the incorporation of optical network units (“ONU's”) in close proximity (i.e. several hundred to several thousand feet) to the end user. These ONU's are connected to corresponding multiplexors, which may be referred to as host digital terminals (“HDT's”). HDT's may be located, for example, in remote terminals (RT's) that are connected through routers located in central offices (CO's). Generally, the ONU's and HDT's comprise firmware cards therein. When the version of software running on the firmware cards located in the ONU's and HDT's is not the same version, it can lead to excessive background noise that negatively affects the operation of the network. In order for the network to operate efficiently, the software running on the firmware cards on each ONU should be compatible with, and preferably the same version as, the corresponding software on the HDT's. Furthermore, in order for the network to operate most efficiently, the firmware for all cards in all HDT's throughout the network should be the same.
Service providers gradually build out their FTTC and FTTH networks while equipment vendors frequently update the software to be used in their ONU's and HDT's. As a consequence, it often happens that the firmware cards in the ONU's are not running the same software version. Similarly, the software located in the firmware cards of the multiplexors are often not the same version. Furthermore, the software in the firmware cards of the ONU's may be incompatible with the software in the firmware cards of the multiplexors.
Existing systems have the capability to query a network element such as an ONU or HDT for the version of software running on a particular card on a particular machine. However, there are no systems or methods for automatically checking the software running on firmware cards of the ONU's and multiplexors throughout a network, identifying outdated software on these machines, and downloading the appropriate software version as needed. Rather, a technician must manually check each ONU card and each multiplexor card for the software thereon, and if the software is not that which is desired, manually update the software. Relying on a technician to update the software may be acceptable for networks where the build-out of multiplexors and NU's is slow and the total size of the network is small. However, for large networks and networks that are being quickly deployed, relying on manual maintenance of software is unacceptable. Indeed, relying on technicians introduces human error to the process and can be very expensive.
Accordingly, there is a need in the art for automated systems and methods for checking the status of software on network elements comprised in a fiber optic network, identifying outmoded software, and updating the software as necessary.
Briefly, the present invention meets these and other needs in the art.
Generally, the invention relates to systems and methods for automatically provisioning software to network elements comprised in a fiber optic communications network. A system in accordance with the invention is operable in a network comprising a plurality of fiber optic multiplexors, or HDT's, each of which communicates with a plurality of ONU's. Each ONU comprises a firmware card and each multiplexor comprises a plurality of firmware cards. A computing system, which is referred to as a software distribution system (SDS), is operable to automatically identify out-moded software on the firmware cards of multiplexors and ONU's and update the software as necessary. The SDS is operable to update all multiplexors in a network as well as all ONU's connected to each of the multiplexors. Thus, an SDS in accordance with the invention insures that the desired software versions are running on all network elements and thereby provides for the efficient operation of the network.
Additional aspects of the invention are described in detail below.
Other features of the invention will be further apparent from the following detailed description of presently preferred exemplary embodiments of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:
A system and method with the above-mentioned beneficial features in accordance with a presently preferred exemplary embodiment of the invention will be described below with reference to
Generally, the invention relates to systems and methods for automatically checking the compatibility of software located on multiplexors and ONU's in an optical fiber network and updating the software as necessary. A system in accordance with the invention is operable in a network comprising a plurality of fiber optic multiplexors each of which communicates with a plurality of ONU's. A software distribution system in accordance with an aspect of the invention is operable to automatically check the software on a multiplexor, check the software on the ONU's communicating with the multiplexor, and update the software as necessary.
An exemplary embodiment of a system and method for checking the compatibility of software in an optical network and updating software as necessary is described below. Specifically, a system and method for managing software compatibility in a fiber in the loop (FITL) network such as that manufactured by Marconi Communications Corporation is described below. The systems and methods are presented for exemplary purposes only and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention. Accordingly, those skilled in the art recognize that the invention applies to other types of optical networks such as, for example, the Deep Fiber HFC and Deep Fiber FTH systems marketed by Marconi Communications Corporation. Indeed, the present invention applies to any type of optical network requiring software compatibility between ONU's and multiplexors incorporated in the network.
ONU's 118 are connected through fiber 120 to a multiplexor referred to as a host digital terminal (“HDT”) 122. At HDT 122, signals from multiple ONU's 118 are multiplexed and routed to an Ethernet switch for communication over 100BaseF fiber link 124. HDT 122 comprises a plurality of optical channel shelves (“OCS”) 126, each of which has slots therein for receiving a plurality of firmware cards for communicating with ONU's 118. For optimal operation of network 100, the version of software running on each firmware card in HDT 122 for communicating with ONU's 118 is the same. Each shelf 126 further comprises a slot for receiving a firmware card for communicating with the Ethernet switch. The version of software running on each of the firmware cards for communicating with Ethernet switches is preferably the same across all HDT's in network 100.
Fiber connection 124 to CO 128 delivers a 100BaseT data signal from HDT 122 to an Ethernet switch at CO 128. The Ethernet switch multiplexes the 100BaseT inputs from a plurality of HDT's 122 into a single 100BaseT output and terminates it on an Ethernet port of the switch. Subscriber communication to this point in the network uses point-to-point over Ethernet (“PPPoE”), which may be established, for example, using Routerware client software for PCs with Windows 95/98/NT. From the CO Ethernet switch, there is one permanent virtual circuit (“PVC”) per NSP 112 and the communication is point-to-point protocol (“PPP”) over asynchronous transfer mode (“ATM”) (“PPPoA”). Subscriber sessions are established and authenticated with NSP's 112 and ride over the L2TP tunnel within the ATM PVC. The CO Ethernet switch routes all PC data traffic from customers destined for a particular NSP over this tunnel/PVC to the NSP. Thousands of customer PPP sessions can be established over the PVC using L2TP tunneling.
ONU 118 is connected via a fiber connection to HDT 122, which may be manufactured, for example, by RELTEC Corporation, and which is comprised in remote terminal (“RT”) 212. HDT 122 comprises OCS shelves 124, each of which accepts a plurality of firmware cards for terminating signals from ONU's. Specifically, each shelf 124 comprises a plurality of OIU firmware cards 214 wherein each OIU firmware card 214 operates as the termination point for a corresponding OIU firmware card 210 located at an ONU. Each shelf 124 further comprises an optical multiplexing unit (“OMU”) firmware card 216, which operates to multiplex the signals from the OIU cards 214, and deliver a 10BaseT output to Ethernet switch 218. Ethernet switch 218 is connected via a 100BaseF transceiver 220 and fiber link 222 to CO 128.
Data is received over data link 222 at CO 128 via 100BaseF fiber transceiver 226 and Ethernet switch 228. Ethernet to ATM switch 230, which may be, for example, a Redback SMS-1000 switch, provides connectivity from CO 128 to ATM network 232. Connectivity is provided through ATM network 232 to ISP or NSP 112.
Network management systems (“NMS's”) 240 and 242 control the configuration of network elements for forming a PVC through the IFITL and ATM network to ISP's 112. NMS's 240 and 242 determine which network elements need to be configured in order to create the PVC and route requests to one or more element management systems (EMS's) to implement the configurations. EMS 250 provides for the day-to-day management of ONU's 118 and HDT's 122. For example, EMS 250 controls the provisioning, monitoring and maintenance of the IFITL network. In exemplary network 100, EMS 250 may be, for example, a DISC*S Fiberstar device manufactured by Marconi Communications.
Network 100 also comprises software distribution system (SDS) 260. SDS 260 operates to distribute software upgrades to firmware cards located in HDT's 122 and ONU's 118 as described below in connection with
OMU firmware cards 216 and OIU firmware cards 214 and 210 provide for communication between ONU 210 and HDT 122. In order for communication to be efficient and to minimize broadcast inconsistencies in network 100, the software comprised in OIU cards 210 should be compatible with the software on OIU cards 214. More preferably, the software versions on all OIU cards 210 should be the same across ONU's 118, and the software versions on all OIU cards 214 should be the same across HDT's 122. Likewise, software on OMU cards 216 should be compatible with the software on OIU cards 214, and preferably, the version of software on all OMU cards 216 should be the same on all HDT's 122 across the network. SDS 260 is operable to identify software on OMU's 216, OIU's 214, and OIU's 210 that is not the desired or prescribed version and to update the software as necessary.
SDS 260 comprises a generic computing system such as is depicted in
Generally, SDS 260 operates by checking each OMU card 216 and OIU card 214 on an HDT 122 to determine whether a software/firmware update is necessary. If the software version on a card is not the desired version and therefore requires updating, SDS 260 performs the update. Thereafter, SDS 260 connects to each ONU 118 that communicates with the particular HDT 122, and checks the software/firmware of the OIU card 210 located on each ONU 118. If the software on an OIU card 210 is not the desired version and requires updating, SDS 260 performs the update.
At step 420, SDS 260 identifies the software version on one of the OIU firmware cards 214 on the selected HDT 122. If at step 422, the software is not the correct version, at step 424, SDS 260 downloads the appropriate software. However, if at step 422, the OIU card 214 has the correct software version, at step 426, SDS 260 determines if there are other OIU firmware cards 214 on HDT 122. If so, SDS 260 repeats the process beginning with step 420. If at step 426 no other OIU cards 214 are located in the particular HDT 122, SDS 260 proceeds to check the software versions on OIU cards 210 of the connected ONU's 118.
As shown, at step 440, SDS 260 identifies an ONU 118 connected to the HDT 122 analyzed in steps 410 through 426 above. At step 442, SDS 260 determines the software version on an OIU card 210 located in ONU 118. If at step 444, the software is not the desired version, at step 446, SDS 260 updates the software. At step 448, SDS 260 determines if there are other ONU's 118 that communicate with the previously analyzed HDT 122. If so, SDS 260 repeats the process beginning with step 440.
If at step 448, there are no further ONU's 118 connected to the particular HDT 122, at step 450, SDS 260 determines whether there are other HDT's 122 in network 100 that need to be checked for software updates. If so, SDS 260 begins the process again at step 410. If not, the process ends at step 460.
Thus, systems and methods for provisioning software updates to network elements comprised in a fiber optic network have been disclosed. These novel systems and methods allow administrators to automatically identify locations in the fiber optic network that might detrimentally impact the performance of the network and automatically update software as necessary. The systems and methods in accordance with the invention thereby greatly simplify software provisioning and troubleshooting in the fiber optic network.
Those skilled in the art understand that computer readable instructions for implementing the above-described processes, such as those described with reference to
While the invention has been described and illustrated with reference to specific embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that modification and variations may be made without departing from the principles of the invention as described above and set forth in the following claims. For example, while the invention has been described in connection with an IFITL network, the systems and methods may be employed in other network types such as for example, fiber to the home (FTTH) and similar fiber optic networks. Accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims as indicating the scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||717/173, 717/172, 717/171, 717/169|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L41/082, H04L41/0866, H04L41/0883, H04Q2011/0079, H04Q11/0067|
|European Classification||H04Q11/00P4C, H04L41/08C, H04L41/08A2B|
|Sep 19, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AT&T INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 1, L.P., A LIMITED PART
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AT&T DELAWARE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:021568/0579
Effective date: 20080825
|Mar 18, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4